This project was led by a UK Government body with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to monitor the uptake of inoculations in developing countries. A key part of the challenge for Maddison was to develop an oral swab solution that provided simple fluid extraction from the swab without the use of a centrifuge. It also needed to be very simple to use and extremely low cost.
Development and Solution
Maddison explored several design concepts before arriving at a solution using a conical tube combined with a dropper. The design was then optimised through a series of prototype testing to optimise a sample harvesting and dispensing mechanism.
The user takes a swab of the gums and then screws the swab into the tube, an action which compresses the swab, forcing the sample to the top surface. The user then inverts the device and the fluid runs down the stick to the dropper where it is dispensed by squeezing the tube. Maddison worked closely with manufacturers to select the best materials and optimise tolerances to ensure a highly repeatable solution. We also developed the Instructions for Use and packaging. The unique design has been patented and used in field trials.